The Growth of the Professional Body Sector

A look at the journey to becoming a Professional Body from our new members, Agile Business Consoritum



Here at PARN we have recently been involved with the setting up of a number of new professional bodies, who have become members of our thriving community. Be that new bodies from scratch, such as the Association of Detectorists, or new bodies stemming from trade bodies, such as the Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture, which is rooted in the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board. The cause for the recent and on-going expansion of the professional body sector may be to a number of contemporary pressures, such as an awareness of the value of practitioners banding together to protect their practice, a renewed need to establish various trades as contained professions and to protect their boundaries by setting up professional bodies.

There are many reasons why a professional body comes into existence and due to this the journey to get there is unique. We wanted to share the story of our new members, Agile Business Consortium, who are soon to be launching as a professional body for business agility. This may bring back nostalgia if you were part of the creation of a professional body, or provide insight into the many nuanced events within a profession which influence the creation of a professional body.

The following article is written by Andrew Craddock Chairman, Agile Business Consortium.



The Agile Business Consortium has been through several periods of significant change since our incorporation in 1993. We started our life as the DSDM Consortium, created by a group of mainly blue-chip companies committed to solving one of the big issues of the time – the inefficiency and unpredictability of delivery of projects involving IT. Businesses such as British Airways, British Telecom, IBM, Oracle and various consultancies and systems integrators, whose names have long been obscured by mergers and acquisitions, found reason to collaborate in an attempt to overcome a relentless trend of projects significantly exceeding agreed timescales and budget.


The result of that collaboration, between organisations on both sides of the traditional customer-supplier divide, was DSDM – the Dynamic Systems Development Method – the world’s first Agile approach for the building of computer systems published in 1994. DSDM is now in its 6th version, popularized in the last decade through the project manager’s perspective on the framework – AgilePM.


The Consortium was represented by Arie Van Benekum at the gathering of thought leaders who crafted the Manifesto for Agile Software Development during the US winter of 2001 and thus became a founder member of the Agile Alliance. Despite that, DSDM became one of the best-kept secrets of the early Agile era, with only Consortium members able to share the benefits of its use, whilst approaches such as Scrum were published openly and rapidly gained prominence.


All this led to the first significant change in 2007 when the Consortium decided to make DSDM ‘free to view and free to use’ and to shift emphasis from corporate members to individual membership. Around the same time, the emphasis of DSDM itself shifted slightly too, moving more towards projects focused on IT-enabled business change, rather than being focused on building computer systems.


The 2010 launch of AgilePM in partnership with APMG brought us the opportunity to invest in the most significant change in our history. In 2016 we became the Agile Business Consortium with a brand new focus for our future – Advancing Business Agility worldwide.


We are now making significant progress towards establishing ourselves as the Professional Body for Business Agility with a tailored proposition for Agile Project Managers launching, and several more to follow in the coming months.


With the help of geographically dispersed members, partners and sponsoring organisations, we aim to build a truly global community focused on giving individuals and businesses what they need to succeed in a world where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity are the norm. We will grow the regional capability to support Agile professionals with an increasingly valuable range of products, services and opportunities to engage and collaborate both with us and with each other – all aimed at helping every member grow their own capabilities and accelerate their career progression in the cause of advancing business agility worldwide.